Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mexican Night

Homemade Mexican Night

There’s something about watering down odd-colored powder and stirring it into chopped beef that bothers me. And yet, I (and my entire family) adore Mexican night. We place the tortillas on a dish and have small bowls of toppings (chopped tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheese, diced red onions, salsa, sour cream, beans, and beef…) and everyone serves themselves to whatever tempts them. It’s messy, bothersome since everyone wants the toppings at the same time and great fun! Since I have more or less decided to ban industrial food and have set a goal that I would like to know exactly where my fruits, veggies, meat and dairy products come from (preferably having actually met the person responsible) I had to find a way to make the same fun dish from scratch. Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a go.

Tortillas: (for about 12 standard size tortillas)

Knead 300 grams of white flour, 300 grams of corn flour and 50 cl of warm water together for at least 10 minutes by hand or in a Kitchen aid or food processor equipped with a hook for bread (a marvellous investment if you want to make your own breads)

Heavily flour a countertop with a blend of corn flour and white flour. Tear bits of the mixture off and roll them into balls on the floured surface until they are easy to handle (slightly smaller than tennis balls). Then, roll them out with a heavily floured pin until they are the size of crêpes and as thin as possible.

Heat a crêpe pan (with no oil) and place your tortillas on the pan. They are done when they begin to rise and bubble here and there on the surface. Flip them and cook the other sides.

Beef and Beans:

1 or 2 chopped onions
2 chopped cloves of garlic
500 grams of minced beef (cut into small bits rather than chopped) but you may use ground beef as well.
A cup of kidney (red) beans
Chili powder
Salt and pepper

Heat some oil in a skillet and cook the onions and garlic until soft and transparent. Add the beef and cook (making sure to break up the larger chunks) until it is no longer pink. Add the spices and beans when the meat is about half-way cooked. Start with 2 tablespoons of chilli powder and add more if you like things spicy.

Fresh Salsa:

This is excellent but it can be watering when using garden tomatoes. Place the chopped tomatoes on some paper towels for about a quarter of an hour if this is the case.

500 gr of fresh tomatoes diced
1 or 2 onions, diced
2 cloves of chopped garlic
Chopped fresh peppers or a small can of hot chilli peppers
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons of vinegar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Fresh chopped cilantro (I grow it in the garden but you can find it in most supermarkets in the produce section now or at the marché where it sold by North Africans in bouquets)

Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate.


Chopped red onions
Chopped fresh tomatoes
Shredded cheddar cheese (or mimolette vieillie)
Lettuce (preferably iceberg for its crunch)
Fresh sour cream (I buy mine from a local dairy producer and it is not comparable to anything you can find in a supermarket)

The above are standard, but you can vary these by using

Zucchini squash (shredded raw or cooked and diced)
Fresh diced peppers (I like to have a bit of green, red and yellow to make it look more intriguing)
Chopped peppers

You can also replace the beef with chopped chicken breasts or even fish, but in this case I leave out the beans.

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